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Merck KGaA Q3 Profit Edges Up, Raises FY19 View; Stock Dips

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German science and technology company Merck KGaA (MKGAY.PK) reported Thursday a slight increase in third-quarter profit, despite good growth in sales. The company further lifted its fiscal 2019 earnings and sales view following the closing of the Versum Materials acquisition. Shares of Merck were losing around 2 percent in the morning trading in Germany.

Stefan Oschmann, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO, said, "With the successful acquisition of Versum at the beginning of October, Performance Materials achieved a key milestone of its Bright Future transformation program."

Further, Chief Financial Officer Marcus Kuhnert added that the company is now focusing on generating cash and consequently rapidly lowering debt.

For fiscal 2019, Merck now expects Group EBITDA pre, its most important earnings indicator, between 4.23 billion euros and 4.43 billion euros, compared to previous view between 4.15 billion euros and 4.35 billion euros. This is higher than last year's 3.80 billion euros.

Overall, net sales are forecast to be between 15.7 billion euros and 16.3 billion euros now, compared to earlier forecast of 15.3 billion euros to 15.9 billion euros. In 2018, net sales were 14.836 billion euros.

Merck continues to expect a strong organic increase in EBITDA pre, and a moderate organic net sales increase of 3 percent to 5 percent.

For the third quarter, net income attributable to shareholders increased 0.8 percent to 343 million euros from last year's 340 million euros.

Earnings per share were 0.79 euro, up 1.3 percent from 0.78 euro a year ago. Earnings per share pre were 1.35 euros, compared to 1.32 euros last year.

EBITDA grew 16.7 percent from last year to 1.07 billion euros. EBITDA pre went up 15.4 percent to 1.11 billion euros.

Group net sales rose 8.1 percent to 4.05 billion euros from last year's 3.75 billion euros, benefited from positive foreign exchange effects. Group organic sales growth amounted to 5.7 percent driven by double-digit growth in Healthcare and Life Science.

Healthcare business sector's sales grew 10 percent to 1.76 billion euros and Life Science business sales went up 12.3 percent to 1.72 billion euros. Meanwhile, sales of the Performance Materials business sector decreased 6.9 percent to 583 million euros.

In Germany, Merck KgaA shares were trading at 108.05 euros, down 1.55 percent.

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